Vice President-elect Kamala Harris inspiring members of her historically Black sorority

Posted at 9:15 AM, Nov 10, 2020

ACADIANA, La. — With President-elect Joe Biden's projected win, his running mate Kamala Harris will make history as the nation's first female Vice President. For some, it's an inspiration.

The win is especially meaningful to the members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. It's the oldest African-American sorority in the country, of which Harris is a member.

"How meaningful it is, that in a space that was once built by slaves, is now having someone there that represents everything that the African- American community means in America," said Joya Hayes, the South-Central Regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha. "We're just excited that one of our own is at a level where she is not only at a space that she's competent and prepared to lead, but she represents what values we have at historically Black Greek organization."

The organization is one of nine historically Black Greek letter organizations. Those organizations were founded at a time when other Greek-letter organizations denied Black students entry.

Alpha Kappa Alpha was founded in 1908, and membership continues beyond college — its members are a part of the sorority for life, focusing on service and empowering their communities.

Hayes says Harris represents hope, validation and the shattering of the "glass ceiling."

"Over the last four years there have just been times in which the communities of color in America have continued to question our worth and our value and how much we're appreciated in today's society," Hayes said. "This vote is validation that America still has the values in which we wanted to have and that there is space in all levels of government for communities of color that are ready to serve. That diversity is something we're proud of."

Clancy Ratliff, a professor at the University of Louisiana, says it's a historic moment for all women.

"This executive branch looks more like America than it ever has before," Ratliff said. "We'll see in future elections more women in primaries in both parties. I think it will be normalized as it should be."

This story was originally published by Kendria LaFleur on KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana.